WELCOME BACK TO OUR FIRST FULL BULLETIN FOR THE YEAR
CHALLENGED BY A VOICE
Over the last 200 years much has been done to provide for Aborigines but there has never been an official Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Provision has been made for their education, housing, health, legal oversight, transport connections and food but often little respect has been shown for their customs especially in outback areas . Lack of appropriate consultation often results in wasted effort. State and Commonwealth governments have generally chosen to take initiatives which have sometimes been inappropriate or even harmful, instead of encouraging aborigines to take up their responsibility. Currently the national government is planning to hold a referendum to give an Aboriginal voice in Parliament with the hope is that this will allow Aboriginal elders to comment on proposals. One problem with this approach is whose voice will they hear. Will it be the voice of the people from the remote areas who have tangible needs, or the voice of those who are current elders. Many Aborigines have described themselves as being dominated or oppressed. Will the Voice enable the Aboriginal eldership to contribute to development of a sense of agency and responsibility in meeting the needs of communities and individuals?
The Gospel first arrived in 1788 with a chaplain on the first fleet commissioned to bring it. It has since spread across Australia and into many Aboriginal and Torres Strait areas. There have been both European and Aboriginal revivals. Both Christians and the general population have made mistakes which have left deep emotional scars. Massacres and misunderstandings have led the First nation people to believe that they had been invaded. Many have been treated with disdain and little respect. They have seen their children taken away from them and been lost land they had close links with. There is still the need for true repentance and forgiveness by all involved because these scars still remain in people’s thoughts and words. True repentance would result in unconditional love and an ability to listen respectfully. Something deep needs to happen to bring about a real healing of our nation. When those who are called by the Name of Jesus humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our self-centred ways He will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. (2 Chr 7:14) Let’s trust the Lord to show us how and what to pray.
*That both First Nation people and those who have arrived since European settlement will forgive each other for the sins of our past and demonstrate a willingness to join together to be both one and free.
* For a need to be sensitive, respectful of both First Nation people and newcomers, to value all their insights and to not dominate or despise those who differ from us.
*For freedom and openness to discuss the proposed referendum, and for sensitivity and discernment to be given to our leaders so that they can create the most productive wording for the referendum question.
HEALING A NATION
Jesus has given us insights as to how we can be healed and, at a corporate level, how a nation can be healed. In Acts 19:18-20 is says about the Church in Ephesus that “Many of the believers began to confess openly and tell all the evil things they had done … So, in a powerful way the Word of the Lord kept spreading and growing”. It begins with us being honest and open with ourselves and with others and the confession of sin. As with all things spiritual it has to begin with God’s people getting things right within their own lives and within the Body of Christ. As we allow God to do in us what we want Him to do in our Nation we commence a process that eventually will find its way into society as a whole. As it says in James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
* that with the emphasis that is today placed on mental health issues that many will see the connection between, confession of sin and the forgiveness of those who may have hurt us, and mental health.
* that a greater understanding of the powerful impact of the confession of both personal and corporate sin can have in people’s lives will infiltrate the Body of Christ and become a way of life as it was for the Church in Ephesus.
* that confession of sin, without judgement, will become a feature of the way doctors and psychologists treat their patients and the Church resolves internal issues so that healing becomes a recognised outcome of the confession of sin.
AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE
For the first time the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has released data showing that it has blocked people from being trafficked. In the past year the AFP has blocked 53 people, mainly women and children, from entering into forced marriages, being made to leave Australia against their will and enduring domestic servitude. 75% of victims who were saved are female and more than half are children under the age of 18. AFP detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said that if authorities are alerted in time, police can act and stop victims from being harmed. She said that not all cases of human trafficking are prosecuted because the reasons are not always clear-cut. But she stressed that the main message that the AFP wants to convey is that they are aware of barriers that people may be facing and that they are here to help and protect them. Human trafficking and modern slavery cases surged after international borders reopened in February. 436 cases of human trafficking were reported to the AFP between July1, 2021 and November 30, 2022.
“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10 MSG
* Pray with strength and boldness for the Lord to help every man, woman and child who has been trafficked or who is in danger of being so.
* Pray for the AFP, in their work to thwart the trafficking of people. Pray for courage and strength and wisdom to all its officers.
* Thank God that He hears our praying and promises to help.
PRAYING FOR ISSUES IN THE NEWS
* Treasurer Jim Chalmers has caused concern within the Business community that he wants to move the nation away from our capitalist past. Writing in a media article over the weekend Chalmers wrote of wanting to usher in a new era of values-based capitalism (which some believe would be more in line with Socialism). Business leaders interprets that he wants more Government interference in the economy which caused business leaders to warn him not to “sleepwalk into being a quasi-command economy” nor rewrite Australia’s successful market-based system. Whilst some modifications in the way Governments and financial systems operate may be helpful, a move towards a more left-wing ideological position may further undermine the values system upon which our nation has been built. Please pray that the competing forces within Government and Business will maintain a healthy balance between too much change and not enough.
* It hasn’t taken long for conflict to erupt within the newly formed Teal Independant’s with Teal MP Monique Ryan facing an embarrassing court battle with left-wing activist Sally Rugg for allegedly breaching workplace laws. Ms Rugg, the MP’s chief of staff and a leader in the campaign to legislate same-sex marriage, is accusing Dr Ryan of a breach of general protections under the Fair Work Act, in a case filed in the courts. The action creates some embarrassment for Dr Ryan given she ran a campaign to make parliament more transparent and a safer workplace. Pray that the outcome of the court action will result in a safer workplace and provide more transparency into the running of a Parliamentarians office as Dr Ryan wanted when she entered Parliament.
PRAYING FOR OTHERS
This week let us pray for Tajikistan. In Tajikistan, all religious activities must be approved by the government. Pray that God will soften the hearts of authorities to the gospel.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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